Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small]

so justifying; but this will be only declaratory. All, on the contrary, who professed faith in Christ, and did not show their faith by good works, will be adjudged unbe. lievers, or as having had a mere dead and unprofitable faith.

P. ci. I. 20. · The homily, &c.'* The single expres. sion, 'baptized or justified,' in this connexion, does not necessarily prove that justification takes place at bap* tism. Indeed if rigorously interpreted, it might be brought to prove, that baptism and justification are the same, which certainly was not intended. In those, who are baptized adult, baptism is, on their part, a profession of faith in “God the Father, the Son, and the Holy “ Ghost;” and of self dedication to the God of salvation. Their admission to baptism is a recognition or declaration of their admission into the ark of Christ's church; and a sign, seal, and pledge to them of the blessings of salvation, especially of justification; for baptism is in this case, what circumcision was, “a seal of the right“eousness of the faith,” which a man “has yet being un

baptized.”f This forms the connexion between baptism and jastification: but it goes on the supposition, that the profession of the baptized person is sincere; that he has “the answer of a good conscience towards * God:” but if he be a hypocrite, or a concealed Jew, or infidel, it is certain that baptism neither justifies him, nor recognizes his justification. For the scripture evidently connects justification with faith:f but he who

* " The homily “On the salvation of mankind," • in strict conformity to the 12th article, speaks of Good works neces

cessarily to be done afterwards,' (that is, after a man is justified;) and the same homily uses the expression, * baptized or justified,' considering justification as taking place at baptism, and consequently in this life; • Our office is not to pass the time of this pre.

sent life unfruitfully and idly, after that we are baptized or justified, not * caring how few good works we do to the glory of God, and profit of our neighbours.' † Rom. iv. 11.

# Acts xiii. 39. Rom. i. 17. iii. 23-26. 28. 30. iv. ---5. 24, 25. v. 1. x. 10. Gal. ii. 16. jü 9-14.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

has no faith, or only a dead faith, cannot be justified by any external observance: and children, not being capable of faith, are received to baptism, on the profession of their parents or sponsors, and the engagements in their behalf; but it cannot with propriety be said that they are justified in baptism, any more than that Abraham's posterity were justified in circumcision. Abraham was the father of circumcision to them, who are “ not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in " the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which “ he had yet being uncircumcised."* But it is the office or duty of baptized, or justified persons, professors of Christianity; to show the sincerity of their profession by their holy and useful lives.

P. cii. I. 4. Faith, &c.'t All the worthies mentioned in the eleventh of Hebrews had either traditional, or written revelation, containing the promise of a Saviour. I But does the Scripture ever speak concern

• Rom. jv. 12.

t'Faith, in several parts of the New Testament, and especially in the * 11th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, is attributed to persons who • lived prior to the times of the Gospel. It is said in this chapter, that " without faith it is impossible to please God,” v. 6. • By faith must be here ' meant, not faith in Christ exclusively, but a species of faith, varying in dif.

ferent men according to the different means afforded them of knowing and 'practising their duty. For in this chapter we find faith, a faith pleasing to "God, attributed to a great variety of persons living at very different times ' and under different dispensations, from Abel the son of Adam, to David and 'the prophets under the Jewish economy. The Gentiles “ were a la v into “ themselves," and their faith consisted in believing that a compliance ' with that law was acceptable to the Deity. The efficacy, howerer, of this ' faith, whether in the Patriarchs, the Jews, or the Gentiles, must still be "derived from the merits and through the mediation of Jesus Christ, who • died for the sins of the whole world. Thus it appears that no human be• ing was ever born into this world, and arrived at the age when he had the • full use of his reason, who had it not in his power to please God. Calvin * acknowledges that the word faith is used in Scripture in various senses; but 'my present business is to inquire into its signification when applied is Christians.

Heb. xi. 13—40.

[ocr errors]

ing the faith of Gentiles, who had no revelation, and no
promise of a Saviour?* “ Ye were without Christ, be-
“ ing aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and

strangers from the covenants of promise, having no
• hope, and without God in the world.”+ Where
again do we read, that any man's faith. consisted in be.

lieving that compliance with a law was acceptable to the Deity?' Or where are any spoken of as believers, who had no revelation? Faith, in every view, must be the crediting of some proposition, or testimony: and cannot properly mean the reasonings, imaginations, or conclusions of a man's own mind. The faith, spoken of in scripture, is “ the belief of the truth," the “ sure “ testimony of God," and a reliance on his faithfulness to fulfil his promises: but, without some degree of revelation, what has faith to rest upon? Man's most confident dogmas have generally been found most egregious

“ The world by wisdom knew not God.”I “ Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of “ God.”—They are to be had accursed, that presume to say, that every man shall be saved, by the law

or sect, which he professes, so that he be diligent to • frame his life according to that law and the light of

nature. For holy Scripture doth set out unto us only • the name of Jesus Christ, whereby men may be saved.')

!) How far this passage accords with the article, which his Lordship requires all, who come to him for ordination, or institution, to subscribe, the reader must determine. · The power to please God,' has been considered in the remarks on the first chapter: but no man has a moral ability, or a willing mind, except as communicated by special grace: and it still remains to be proved, that

errors:

[ocr errors]

• See quotation from homilies, on p. 98. 1. 14, Refutation. # 1 Cor. i. 21.

§ Rom. x. 14--17.

f Eph. ii. 1. 1 Art. rii

God ever gave this special grace, this renewal unto holiness, where he totally withheld the word of truth; or that any, adults at least, will derive benefit from the merits and mediation of Christ, who never believed in him, either as an expected Redeemer, or as one already come; or that any could be said to believe in him, who had never heard of his name. “Forbidding us to speak “ to the Gentiles, that they might be saved."'* “Who"soever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be “saved, How then shall they call on him, in whom

they have not believed? and how shall they believe in “ him of whom they have not heard? and how shall “ they hear without a preacher?”+ They cannot be. lieve, unless revelation be sent to them; they cannot call on the Lord, except they believe: and they cannot be saved, if they do not call on the Lord. Calvin and Calvinists most readily acknowledge, that faith is used • in scripture, in various senses:'the two grand divisions of which are a living faith and a dead faith: but believ. ing a man's own conjectures, or reasonings, is not one of these various senses.

P. cii. I. 10. St. Paul says, &c.'! It is the general opinion of commentators, that the apostle, in the passage

• 1 Thes. ii. 16. † Rom. x. 13, 14. # 'St. Paul says, “Though I have all faith, and have not charity, I am noth

ing;" . and to the Ephesians he says, " By grace are ye saved through " faith:” 'in the former passage, Faith is declared to be an useless qualifica. i * tion; in the latter, nothing less than the power of attaining eternal salvation • is ascribed to it, through the grace of God. An useless faith, and a saving • faith, cannot be the same; and consequently the word is used by this in. spired writer in different senses. The faith, which a man may possess, and yet be “ no:hing,” is a bare belief of the truth of the Gospel, without • any love or gratitude to God for the blessings it conveys, or any practical

regard to the duties it enjoins. The faith, which is the means of salya* tion, is that belief of the truth of the Gospel, which produces obedience 'to its precepts, and is accompanied by a firm reliance upon the merits of • Christ. That there is a species of faith which is of no value, we learn also • from St. James, “ Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

VOL. I.

[ocr errors]

F f

[ocr errors]

referred to,* at the opening of this quotation, means by “ faith,” a special reliance on the promised power of God, to enable a man to work miracles in the name of Christ; which it is clear some had, who were destitute of that “ faith, which worketh by love." Our Saviour seems plainly to inform us, that men might prophesy, and cast out devils, and do mighty works in his name, and yet be workers of iniquity, and persons whom he would not own at the last day.'t This, however, has no immediate connection with our subject. In other respects the quotation expresses the sentiments of a great majority, indeed of nearly all, who are called the evangelical clergy: especially this sentence, “The faith, which is the means of salvation, is that belief of the truth of the Gospel, which produces obedience to its precepts, and is accompanied by a firm reliance on the merits of Christ.' To produce is very different from to contain, which many would substitute for it. Good

works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after * justification-do spring out necessarily of a true and ' lively faith, insomuch, that a lively faith may be as

evidently known by them, as a tree discerned by its 'fruit.'I ! No man should think, that he hath that lively ' faith, which the Scripture commandeth, when he liveth * not obediently to God's laws; for all good works spring 'out of that faith.'s An excellent passage is afterwards quoted in The Refutation' from the same homily, which needs not be here reprinted, as the reader will do well, carefully to peruse the whole, in the Book of Homilies. If any, called evangelical clergymen, do not approve of this doctrine, thus stated from Scripture and the authorized writings of our church, we who do, (a large

• 1 Cor. xii. 2. on Faith, 3d Part.

| Whitby on 1 Cor. xii. 2.

# Art. Ij.

Homily

« ZurückWeiter »